ICC Note: In July, ten Christian families in Rahimabad village located in Pakistan were assaulted and had their homes looted after a Muslim woman went missing. Local Muslims accused a 22-year-old Christian of eloping with the missing woman and took revenge. Interreligious relationships in Pakistan often cause communal tensions. When a Christian man is found to have a relationship with a Muslim woman, the consequences can be deadly.
08/29/2018 Pakistan (World Watch Monitor) – A Pakistani family seeks justice almost two months after their 22-year-old son was falsely accused of abducting a 19-year-old woman, which led in turn to the looting and ransacking of Christians’ houses.
Early on 9 July, Nabeela Bibi of Rahimabad village (78/RB), Sheikhupura, went missing; her father Muhammad Hanif said he suspected she’d eloped with her next-door neighbor, 22-year-old Christian Waheed Masih.
“All the Muslim residents flared up and shouted at us saying they would burn our houses and cut us into pieces,” Waheed’s brother Nasir Masih told World Watch Monitor (WWM).
The village has only 10 Christian families: most of them are bonded laborers in brick kilns; others work as janitors in different cities. So most of their men had already left when the incident took place.
The Christians assured everyone that they had no idea where Nabeela had gone, but no one believed them and the situation kept getting more tense all day.
Nasir told WWM: “The mob took my mother and beat her publicly. Someone alerted the police, who rescued her from the mob but then took her into custody to pressure us to produce Waheed at the police station. I eventually brought Waheed back (early on 10 July) and presented him before the Muslims of the area.”
In the family’s application to the Punjab Chief Minister and Secretary (and Supreme Court), Nasir stated “the imam announced more than once on the loudspeaker that all Muslims should gather at the center of the village, and ‘Don’t let even a single Christian live in the village!’ Following this, a large number of Muslims gathered and then attacked the houses of the Christians.”
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